Epcot was the second of four theme parks to open at Walt Disney World in Florida. It’s divided into two parts: Future World and World Showcase. The park spans over 300 acres, a large part of which is the expansive waterside World Showcase area which consists of 11 pavilions that represent various countries of the world. But during the course of each year, World Showcase also becomes home to additional food kiosks, changing entertainment, educational displays and much more during the Disney festivals that take place there.
Epcot Festivals Include:
- Epcot International Festival of the Arts (Jan 18 – Feb 25, 2019)
- Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (Mar 6 – Jun 3, 2019)
- Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (Aug 30 – Nov 12, 2018, 2019 Dates TBD)
- Epcot International Festival of the Holidays (Nov 18 – Dec 30, 2019 Dates TBD)
Each Festival offers unique offerings centered around the theme of the event. There are activities, foods and much more for all to enjoy no matter your age. We love to visit Epcot as much as possible when the Festivals are going on because they always enhance them each year, so there is always something new and exciting to see, do or taste!
Here’s the scoop on each one.
Epcot International Festival of the Arts (Jan 18 – Feb 25, 2019)
This wintertime (and we use that term loosely here in Florida) festival is the newest and shortest, but that doesn’t mean you should skip it! Deemed as the “ultimate celebration of Art, Entertainment and Food,” this festival showcases the visual arts, culinary arts and performing arts.
If you love Broadway, particularly Disney on Broadway, you won’t want to miss the concerts by award-winning and world-renowned Broadway stars! And beginning next year (2019), these performances will be offered 7 days a week! Performances are included with park admission, but you can also purchase dining packages which include a meal and reserved seating.
In addition to concert performances, you will also find performance art, like live painting performances, living statues and more. A variety of galleries, hands-on workshops and seminars are also available daily. Hosts include Disney artists, Imagineers and Cast Members with varying artistic expertise. Some sessions are complimentary, while others require a pre-paid fee.
There are kids’ activities including Animation Academy drawing classes, a family friendly scavenger hunt and a mural that all festival guests can help to paint.
Last, but certainly not least, the culinary arts are celebrated with creative and visually pleasing twists on bites and sips (sampling plates and drinks) Beautifully and artistically prepared dishes include both sweet and savory items. Cocktails and wine pairings are also available at each food studio. Food and drink samples usually range from $3 to $10.
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (Mar 6 – Jun 3, 2019)
With Spring’s arrival comes a multisensory festival abloom with gorgeous gardens, fresh flavors and rockin’ entertainment. Another festival with fun for all ages, Flower & Garden is a visual feast for the eyes with fresh flowers just about everywhere you look. We especially love the “quilt” where the banks of the waterway near Future World are covered entirely in flowers, creating a beautiful design.
The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is well known for its elaborate Disney character topiaries throughout the park, but as of late it’s also known for the delectable bites and libations at its outdoor kitchens! Again, you will find food kiosks serving festival-themed foods – in this case, fresh and bright flavors, showcasing the naturally grown ingredients. There’s a wide variety of delicious dishes and indulgent desserts as well as specialty sips here as well. Food and drink samples usually range from $3 to $10.
In this festival, you will also find garden displays including wildlife habitats, “how to” exhibits, and a number of other educational displays.
Kids will love the play gardens, multiple scavenger hunts and “kid approved” food items designated in your festival guide.
For additional entertainment, you will find chart-topping musical acts in the Garden Rocks Concert Series. Some of the hottest throwback bands perform at Epcot during this festival. Performances are included with park admission, but you can also purchase dining packages which include a meal and reserved seating.
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (Aug 30 – Nov 12, 2018, 2019 Dates TBD)
Locals refer to Epcot International Food & Wine Festival time as “the most wonderful time of the year,” but you should be warned that the weekends are the most crowded time of the year for that same reason!
Don’t let that dissuade you from visit the “Spectacular Celebration of Global Cuisines, Music and More” because Food & Wine (again) has something for everyone! The global marketplaces return with amazing culinary adventures that allow you to taste (and sip) your way around the world with what feels like an endless number of selections. In 2018, there were 35 individual marketplaces to try! Again, food and drink samples usually range from $3 to $10.
Another reason to visit Epcot International Food & Wine Festival are the countless seminars and events with renowned and celebrity chefs. Some present live cooking and wine tasting demos for a small fee, while others give hands on workshops and even more still appear at special VIP tasting events (the fees on the later two are higher).
Kids will find even more to do at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival with playgrounds, a dance party with Disney characters, a Ratatouille themed scavenger hunt, and complimentary kid-focused and friendly hands-on workshops!
Concerts included with park admission here are part of the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. Offering three performances per night, the musical acts include a star-studded lineup of pop, country and R&B acts. Dining packages with reserved seating are also available for purchase here.
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays (Nov 18 – Dec 30, 2019 Dates TBD)
Walt Disney World is magical all year round, but during the Holiday season, the magic soars to new heights! The sights, sounds and flavors of the season are celebrated at the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. Holiday traditions from the 11 World Showcase nations are joyously commemorated with live musical performance, exuberant storytellers, and festive seasonal foods and beverages.
The Holiday kitchens are sure to bring back memories of family traditional holiday foods and they can also introduce you to new traditions from other cultures. Sample plates range from hearty and savory to sweet and decadent. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic specialties are also offered at each kitchen. Again, food and drink samples usually range from $3 to $10.
Performances here include costumed performers bringing time-honored traditions to life, both educating and entertaining guests of all ages; JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season brings uplifting Gospel, R&B and holiday songs; and the main event – the Candlelight Processional. The Candlelight Processional presents the stirring story of Christmas—as told by a celebrity narrator and accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and massed choir. It’s a beautiful performance that’s not to be missed! Again, this show is included with park admission, but dining packages can be purchased to secure reserved seating.
So, as you may have guessed, choosing a favorite Epcot Festival is a little like choosing a favorite child! Each offers something amazing, special and unique, and we love them all! Which festival is your favorite?